[LINK] Cell tower accuracy re location -- criminal cases

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Sun Nov 1 11:20:15 AEDT 2015

I've been binge listening to Undisclosed, which is the 2015 exploration of the murder case in the US the was viral called Serial. This set of podcasts is tearing apart the prosecution case 15 years later after the conviction of Adnan Sayed in Baltimore.

Episode 8, Ping, is about the use of the cellphone data to convict, using it as location information for the whereabouts of the key players. So far they aren't addressing the thing I think is always important: what is used is not the same as who used the what. In fact, in this case, the phone was in the possession of someone other than the accused most of the day.

But the reason I'm raising on Link is the analysis of that data, circa 1999-2000 in the US. If you are into this sort of thing, it's worth a listen. There are some issues around location or not of towers, directionality, and distance, with regard to accuracy and assumptions made by non-technical 'experts', e.g. lawyers and judges. This relates directly to the data retention laws we have here now and what exactly a phone record says and what could be reasonably assumed from those records other than directional movement.

I'm interested to know from real experts if the situation is any different now with 3G/4G  NON GPS data (that is important distinction, re GPS). We read in the press that these technologies are more accurate, but after hearing this analysis, I'm not so sure that is true. And if it's not, then what is the point? Do we have similar cases happening in Australia where people are wrongly or rightly convicted based on false assumptions about this data? This guy got life.

The episode it about 1.20hr long. 
If that doesn't work, the site is: http://undisclosed-podcast.com/episodes/ and this is episode 8.
[The original Serial series from 2014 is from This American Life - http://files.serialpodcast.org/ ]


I write books. http://janwhitaker.com/?page_id=8

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Twitter: <https://twitter.com/JL_Whitaker>JL_Whitaker
Blog: www.janwhitaker.com 

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~Margaret Atwood, writer 

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